What I learned in October


Taking a page from Emily P. Freeman and writing about what I learned this month.


  1. I will spend the next year or two sick.  

    I used to think I had a great immune system, and then I had two kids.  It turns out, my immune system is nothing spectacular; I just had not been exposed to the germs that pervade children’s spaces on a regular basis.  I spent the first half of 2018 sick and frustrated, and never had I been more grateful for summer. When I caught two colds from my one-year-old in the month of September, I threw up my hands and resigned myself to my fate.  I got my flu shot, I wash my hands like crazy, and I open the windows like a mad woman. But there is only so much I can do.

  2. My daughter is probably a rebel.  

    If you have heard of Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendency framework, you know that rebels resist inner and outer expectations.  After making checklist after checklist and comparing notes with other parents, I began wondering if typical strategies could conquer our family’s struggles.  I had a lightbulb moment one day after school that they probably couldn’t because my daughter doesn’t respond to incentives the way most people do. This realization has changed the way I parent.  I still get frustrated, yes, but understanding my daughter’s personality more reminds me that we are two separate people--and I need to acknowledge where she begins and I end.

  3. I will vote in spite of the many reminders.

    I was planning to vote in the midterms all along, but then came the house calls, text messages, and emails.  Don’t get me wrong: I am all about voting. Yet I have received no less than ten text messages, four phone calls, five house calls, and several dozen emails.  Sheesh.

  4. Early bedtimes suit me well.  

    I always identified more with the night owls more than the early birds, but since having children and teaching early morning workout classes, my internal clock has gradually shifted.  I have had a hard time putting myself to bed early enough, but when I had the aforementioned colds, I took good care of myself. I put myself to bed by 9 p.m. at the latest. continued the habit when I got well, and my body has loved it.  Bonus: I am reading in bed for longer stretches too.

  5. Eyeliner is worth it.

    I have never worn eyeliner before this year.  The first time I tried it was when playing around with a professional makeup artist and getting headshots done.  I realized how much more awake I looked with the eyeliner (and how much more tired I look now than I did two years ago.  Is it thirty or is it kids?). I’m still not great at applying it, but I am a believer. The extra minute in my makeup routine perks me up in a way that no amount of sleep or coffee right now can!

Emily Rowell Brown